KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 31: Starting pitcher Jered Weaver #36 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim delivers his first pitch during the 1st inning of the opening day game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on March 31, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jered Weaver, in case you missed the news, is 6-0 with a 0.99 ERA.
Is he fundamentally any different from the pitcher who last year posted a 3.01 ERA, though?
Tangotiger's not so sure:
Now in 2011, Weaver is once again matching his 2010 K and BB numbers. But, he's got three things that have more luck-impact to them, and he's on the right side of each one.
1. He's a flyball pitcher who, while historically he's already better than league average in allowing HR, is right now much better than his HR standard.
2. His batting average on balls in play, while historically he's already better than league average, is right now extremely low.
3. His performance with men on base, while historically better than league average, is right now far better than league average.
Obviously, a pitcher doesn't go from a 3.01 ERA one season to a 0.99 the next without some luck. Probably a lotta luck.
Which is the case with Weaver. He's always allowed roughly one home run every nine innings; this season he's given up two homers in 46 innings. He's generally allowed roughly a .280 batting average on balls in play, which is quite good; this season he's given up a .220 BABiP. This season, he's given up a .143 batting average with runners in scoring position.
Obviously, none of those numbers can hold.
Weaver did take a Great Leap Forward in 2010, and you might have been excused for wondering if that would be his career season.
Well, maybe not. But six starts is only six starts. At the moment we might only say -- as Tangotiger does -- that Weaver does belong in a group of talented young(ish) starting pitchers that includes Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, Josh Johnson, and Tim Lincecum.
And before we get too excited about Weaver's start, let's remember Ubaldo Jimenez, circa 2010.